Give a little for bikes on Giving Tuesday, windshield bias in Santa Monica, and the case of the doubly purloined Pinarellos

It’s Day 5 of the 9th Annual BikinginLA Holiday Fund Drive!

So take just a moment before we get started to open your heart and wallet in support for our humble little bike blog.

And let’s thank Paul F and Grace P for their generous donations yesterday to help keep all the best bike news and advocacy coming your way every day!

So don’t wait! Donate today!

………

It’s also Giving Tuesday.

So if you have anything left after giving to our holiday fund drive — or maybe the other way around — send a little love to some of the groups out there working to keep you safe and informed.

Thanks to Valley Duke, Chris Thomas and Gary J. Templeton for their suggestions.

………

Santa Monica is celebrating the official unveiling of the bike and pedestrian friendly improvements on 17th Street and Michigan Ave, which have already survived the slings and arrows of local residents angry over changes to their streets.

Or should I say, “their” streets.

17th Street Bikeway Ribbon Cutting

9 a.m. Donuts, coffee and hot chocolate (while supplies last)

9:30 a.m.  Ribbon cutting ceremony

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Mayor Gleam Davis
  • Director of Transportation Anuj Gupta
  • Chief of Police Ramon Batista
  • Santa Monica Spoke Director Cynthia Rose

10 a.m. Santa Monica High School Marching Band

11:15 a.m. Academia de Danza Ballet Folklorico Flor de Mayo

10 a.m. – noon Guided bike tours

Thanks to David Drexler for the heads-up.

………

Speaking of Santa Monica, a local writer offers a word salad of windshield bias and entitlement, along with support for what she says is Santa Monica’s near non-existent public transit system.

Evidently, she’s not a fan of the city’s Big Blue Bus. Or the continuous rumble of Metro buses on the coastal boulevards.

She starts with the story of her ex-husband’s bicycling crash, when he was run down from behind by a driver who questioned why he failed to see him as he rode home from dinner on Pico Blvd.

Because it was dark? Because the lights there are dim? Because it was late and maybe he was tired?

Because accidents happen. No one need be at fault. And yet, the city bears some responsibility for promoting biking before it’s truly safe, for making it ever-more-maddening to drive a car, and for absolutely refusing to create any realistic public transportation options.

I’ve been horrified to since read about two more recent bike accidents, one fatal. The city council’s solutions are all about increasing safety and visibility — and adding more fines. Safety is a good thing, certainly. But better biking is not a full-scale transportation option. And the current practice of incessantly writing parking tickets is already anti-resident, punitive, and un-Santa Monican. The real problem is that it is nearly impossible to drive a car peaceably anywhere in Santa Monica and it is only getting worse. The city has not invested in public transportation. We need safe, reliable, cheap public transportation, not more rules and more fines.

Except that “accidents happen” shouldn’t be an excuse for carelessness.

Cars are big, dangerous machines, and it’s not unreasonable to expect their operators to pay attention to the road directly ahead of them, and stop before hitting people or objects directly in their path.

Is that really too much to ask?

As for promoting bicycling before it’s truly safe, she’s got a point.

But that’s how you make it safe, by making improvements to the streets and encouraging people to use them, and using that increase in ridership to justify the next round of improvements.

Which shouldn’t be necessary, but it is. Because people like her inevitably complain about the inconveniences they face from each little incremental change on the streets.

That’s followed with more talk about the dangers of riding a bicycle, and holding onto one, along with the usual litany of all the reasons why bicycling is impractical.

Except that people do it every day, under exactly the conditions she complains about.

Also, it can be hard to keep a bike in Santa Monica. I, too, had been regularly biking until my electric bike got stolen from behind my house, and then my beach cruiser. And a biking-first policy isn’t inclusive. Plenty of people can’t rely on a bike — like parents of young children, the elderly or disabled, grocery shoppers, those needing to take important meetings free of sweat and errant hair, anyone who has to get anywhere else in LA.

Never mind that bikes, especially ebikes like the one she used to own, serve as effective mobility devices for the elderly and disabled, while cargo bikes are surprisingly efficient for grocery shopping and transporting young kids.

And as a former ebike owner, she should know as well as anyone how well they work for getting you places virtually sweat-free, especially in Santa Monica’s cool coastal climate.

She’s not wrong about the need to improve public transit, in Santa Monica and throughout Southern California.

But she is wrong about the practical benefits of bicycling, and the need for a virtually carbon-free form of inexpensive transportation as we confront a looming climate crisis.

Not to mention that bikes are fun.

Maybe a little lingering resentment towards her bike-riding ex is tainting her thinking.

………

A team of well-rehearsed Italian bike thieves celebrated the American Thanksgiving Day with a professional heist at the headquarters of Pinarello, stealing 12 bikes worth over $164,000 in just 3 minutes.

The theft was so successful, they staged an encore just 20 hours later, returning to snatch another seven Pinarellos worth more than $109,000.

So if you happen to see a struggling bike team riding brand new Pinarellos next year, it may be more evidence that the cycling financial model really is in trouble.

Or maybe that’s just how they haze rookie riders these days.

………

‘Tis the season.

Forbes offers a holiday gift guide recommending ebikes for every time of riding. Except for people who prefer standard bikes, of course.

And either there was an issue with translation, or Czech carmaker Škoda’s We Love Cycling blog has written a gift guide for the cyclist band Queen.

………

YouTuber Daily MTB Rider explains why the bike industry is failing.

………

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

Maybe there’s hope. A British writer who confesses to pouring gasoline on an inferno with her 2015 call to ban the “menace of bicycles” from the roads says she’s given up her car, taken to public transit and revised her low opinion of men in Lycra.

………

 

………

Local 

Streetsblog examines the new bike lanes, green pavement treatments and a new bike path in Artesia.

LAist offers tips on how to achieve a more walkable, bikeable city.

Long Beach is on the path to getting speed cams.

 

State

Caltrans is moving forward with plans to extend San Diego County’s SR-56 bike path, with construction expected to be finished next year.

Bike-unfriendly Coronado, which famously banned all future bike lanes after residents complained about their dizzying, vertigo-inducing visual effects, is planning a festive Ride the Lights nighttime cycling party for December 10th.

The high desert community of Tehachapi unveiled 1.5 miles of new bike lanes in the Old Town district in an effort to improve air quality and traffic safety, as well as safety for cyclists who train in the area during the off-season.

Bicycling says San Francisco-based subscription service Friiyay is changing the business model of ebike rentals and ownership. As usual, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you. 

More NorCal traffic violence, after someone riding a bicycle was killed by a driver in Stockton on Sunday.

 

National

Velo explains why banning right turns on red lights remains a challenge despite rising bicycling and pedestrian deaths, and numerous studies demonstrating the risk.

In the wake of bicyclists killed intentionally by murderous teenagers, extreme speeding motorists and drunk municipal bus drivers, Las Vegas police attempted to improve safety by instructing drivers on bike safety laws, including Nevada’s three-foot passing law. Which wouldn’t have helped with any of those cases. Or the truck driver high on meth who killed five bike riders in 2020, for that matter. But hey, baby steps, right?

While the interminable wait for California’s ebike voucher program to finally launch continues, Denver is wrapping yet another round of the city’s highly successful ebike voucher program with the final launch of the year, with all available vouchers expected to be claimed in less than 10 minutes.

A package of bills in the New York State legislature addresses the exploding risk of ebike fires, with bills mandating safer batteries and fire control equipment at ebike shops. Which raises the question of why any business wouldn’t be required to take the most basic steps to prevent fires.

 

International

Despite the government announcing a more than $10 billion fund to repair England’s notorious potholes, the country’s leading bicycling charity says it’s still not enough to keep bike riders safe.

A British doctor is suing Sheffield, England-based bike designers, builders and sellers Planet X for the equivalent of $12.63 million, after his gravel bike shattered underneath him as he rode, leaving him paralyzed with a broken spine.

Toyota is getting into the e-bikeshare business in Copenhagen.

More proof that bikes are built for disasters, as a Palestinian rides a bicycle past the rubble of a bombed out home, after gasoline has become unobtainable in Gaza.

 

Competitive Cycling

Bicycling says cycling great and former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich confessed to doping and his crumbling life after his career ended, including “cocaine and alcohol abuseassault charges, and arguably even more drama than Lance.” Although he still has a long way to go to match getting stripped of seven Tour titles. Once again, read it on Yahoo if the magazine blocks you.

Bicycling also says Peter Sagan coulda been a contender. Or at least even greater than he was. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else, so you’re on your own if the magazine blocks you.

 

Finally…

Your all-new Holocene aero roadie could be made from your old one. And that feeling when you steal a bike from the bike thief who stole it from the bike shop.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin

Comments are closed.